"I have a plan to get St Vincent
and the Grenadines working.
We will create new jobs
and improve our healthcare."

Dr Godwin Friday

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A portrait image of Dr Godwin Friday looking at the camera with a yellow background

Independence Address of Dr. The Honourable Godwin Friday


Fellow Vincentians and Friends

Greetings, on this the 44th anniversary of our nation’s independence. Undoubtedly, it is a time for celebration and reflection.

We begin by noting that national independence is not a single act or specific moment, but a journey. We have been on that journey long before October 1979 and are still traveling. Long may the journey continue!

We must salute the resilience of our forebears and acknowledge their outstanding contributions that paved the way for us. Every step in that journey has been an act of faith and self-belief that has shaped our identity as a nation. Despite fits and starts, we have accomplished much along the way. Yet, I do believe our best days are ahead of us, and our future is brighter.

We are blessed with abundant natural beauty. Our people are generous and hardworking. Above all, we rely on our faith in God, who has entrusted to us this bountiful land we call our home, to enjoy it fruits and to be its stewards. Over the years, people have come from different cultures—many by force others by choice—and have shared a land held sacred and inalienable by our native ancestors. Together as one people, we now call it home.

Our cultural richness is a blessing and strength derived from our diversity. In our independence journey, we relish the freedom to embrace and celebrate the unique contributions of all communities that make up our country, for the sheer joy of it but also because we know that it makes us strong.

Since the attainment of formal independence in 1979, we have been on a journey to make our lives better, to shape our identity as a people, and to find our place in the world. There have been numerous opportunities for advancement, some we have let slip through our fingers, others we have happily put to good use. In future, we must do more of the latter and take full advantage of all opportunities.

There have also been severe challenges, some natural— as in the eruptions of our volcano– and others of our own making –as in gun crimes and poor governance. We stand together in facing these challenges, knowing intrinsically that unity is a most powerful asset, for in it we find strength, hope and courage to overcome adversity and plan for better days ahead.

As I traverse our beautiful country, I meet ordinary people–nation builders– who everyday make their communities better. Neighbours who lend a helping hand to one another, community leaders who sacrifice to initiate positive change, and individuals who protect the environment and preserve our natural beauty. They contribute yet seek no personal reward or praise, choosing instead to be faithful to the Christian teaching: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Earlier this month. I travelled with colleagues to New York and Toronto to meet fellow Vincentians living there. Their constant support for and commitment to building their beloved homeland loudly proclaim the unbreakable ties that bind us one to another as a people. We cannot do without them nor they without us. If out do without them nor they without us. If ur country is to succeed, all of us must work together.

While meeting present challenges requires unity, we need more than that. We have been let down. Too e out of work. Too many are poorly paid andd form the working poor. Young people are left out and neglected. Violent crime has spiralled out of control, making people feel insecure and forcing them to retreat into their homes. Our healthcare system frequently fails us, and too often, fatally. In short, our people are not enjoying the promised fruits of independence. Therefore, to lift up our country now requires renewed leadership, redoubled in purpose and determination.

Our neighbours in the region have moved ahead, creating better paying jobs, reducing crime, and improving healthcare. We should not be left behind, vainly reaching for, but never attaining the promise of independence.

There is much blame to go around. Those in power must take the greater share of it. While we may leave the finger-pointing for another time, let us at least acknowledge that we can do better. And, knowing this, let us resolve to do better. We must approach nation-building with greater urgency and renewed energy. Our objective can no longer be merely to make life better for the politically favoured few, but for all of us. That is the duty of anyone in public life, and it is my watchword.

Let the efforts of generations past be the strong foundation upon which we build and like voices calling out to us from bygone days, guide and inspire us as we go forward. It is for us to listen closely and answer the call. Any change that will come, can only be from our own efforts and of our own making. That is our duty. Moreover, it is the respect we owe our forebears and the obligation we owe our children. We can do it! We will do it!

Happy Independence everyone. Enjoy and be safe.

May God continue to watch over us and bless us all.

NDP signs pledge to Vincentian youth

On Monday 2nd October 2023, the New Democratic Party (NDP) launched its Youth Guarantee Pledge. The pledge affirms that by the end of our first term in government every young person will have the opportunity to be employed, or to participate in a training program, or be engaged in an internship program.

To deliver this pledge, the NDP has planned a number of initiatives. The centrepiece is the construction of a new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centre of excellence. This will ensure young people can access training, which will give them the skills needed to gain meaningful employment.

We will also embark on a massive jobs expansion programme to increase the number of jobs being created each year. This will be built on the four pillars of the economy:Agriculture, Blue Economy, New Economy, and Tourism.

President of the NDP, Dr Godwin Friday said: “This is an exciting day for us. We are proud to make this pledge to the young people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The NDP is committed to building an economy that works for everyone.  It doesn’t matter their background, the young people will have the training and opportunities they need to thrive and improve their quality of life.”

Member of Parliament for  Southern Grenadines, the Hon. Terrence Ollivierre said: “By every metric, the government is failing our young people.  Our youth unemployment is abysmal, our migration rate is one of the highest in the Eastern Caribbean, and poverty remains a fact of life for too many young people. Over a third – approximately 36% of the population is 29 years old  or younger and youth unemployment is at 41%. This is higher than when the ULP came into office.”

He went on to say: “More job creation is needed and our people must get those jobs or be enabled to get the training and experience required to fill the jobs created.”.  “.

Government must take action now following Minister’s comments on skills

The recent comments by Education Minister, Curtis King, is an admission that the ULP government has failed to implement an effective Technical, Vocational, Educational Training (TVET) program.

In an interview earlier this week, the Minister of Education called for the education system to be revamped, with a greater focus on TVET. He said there was an ‘urgent’ need for reform. He made these comments following a visit to Germany and the Netherlands with his OECS colleagues to explore their education systems.

Commenting on the statement by the Minister, NDP’s spokesperson for Education, the Honorable Terrence Ollivierre, said, “Finally the government has acknowledged what the NDP and experts have been saying for years that we need to ensure there is a joint approach between education and the world of work. It’s a pity that the Minister had to travel to Europe to find out what people here have been saying for years. Our educators are doing a fantastic job and deserve a government that takes action instead of just more talk.”

Leader of the Opposition and President of the NDP. Honorable Dr Godwin Friday, said, “While it is good to see the ULP finally acknowledging what we have been saying about the need to do more to help the young people of St Vincent and the Grenadines, This sudden awakening is a case of too little, too late. We have been proposing improvements for years on how to tackle this issue before it grew worse. The government ignored us. Now, the Minister  has finally now acknowledged, we need to do more to ensure our young people acquire the skills needed to find fulfilling and sustainable jobs”

Dr Friday further stated, “The NDP’s commitment to the need for improvement of the education system has been set out repeatedly. Commitments were contained in the 2020 manifesto, and this has been reinforced by written questions submitted in parliament by MPs from the Opposition. I also did a National Address on education, which called for training facilities and support for TVET.

With four in ten  young people currently unemployed in SVG and 37% of youth living in poverty the government has clearly failed to help young people. It is time to  implement a plan that will truly benefit the young people of SVG. An NDP government would:

  1. Introduce a National Youth Guarantee, giving all young people the opportunity of a job, a training program or work placement.
  2. Improve the YES program by raising the basic rate to $650 and encourage businesses to match the payment, doubling the wage to $1,300.
  3. Provide skills training in local community centers, giving those pursuing careers in trades such as electricians or plumbers a place to learn their skills.
  4. Reduce the interest rate of student loan from 8.5% to 4.5%, or lower.
  5. Provide grants to young people opening businesses through our Development Bank and provide them with support through a new business park and innovation hub.
Young people in SVG with Dr Godwin Friday in the middle of a line

The ULP Government Has Failed Young People

The ULP Government has failed young people.

 It is time for a national campaign to enable young people to make a good life for themselves in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) believes that a large number of young people leave our shores because of the harsh economic conditions in the country. Youth unemployment remains one of the highest in the region. Four (4) out of ten (10) young people are unemployed. St Vincent and the Grenadines’ poverty rate is higher than the average (23%) for the Eastern Caribbean. More than 1 in 3 children and 37% of youth live in poverty in SVG.

Commenting on the situation, President of the NDP, and Leader of the Opposition Honourable Dr Godwin Friday, said, “The ULP government has failed our young people. Addresse after 22 years in government they offer no hope and no plan for the future. By every metric, the government is failing our young people.  Youth unemployment is alarmingly high. Our migration rate is among the highest in the Eastern Caribbean and poverty remains a fact of life for too many young people.

I want to create a future where everyone who chooses to live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has the opportunity to do so and have a quality life. The NDP will increase training in key sectors, invest in new businesses, cut student interest rates to make it easier to go to college and ensure that every young person has an opportunity to develop their skills and prospects here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Dr Friday added, “My colleagues and I will be talking with young persons throughout the country to hear first-hand the issues they are facing and how we can work together to address them.”

The NDP demands government’s plan to save NIS

It is only through full transparency and accountability that everyone – opposition, trade unions, and pensioners – can understand the scale of the reform required and the state of the fund.

The 11th Actuarial Review recommends the need for urgent reform. Moreover, recent media reports about the use of the fund for political purposes makes it clear that it is only through full accounting that the scale of reform can be fully understood.

Recommendations to shore up the declining NIS were made in the 11th Actuarial Review, but the government has failed to implement any of these measures to protect people’s pensions or set out any plans for reform.

The government has been told repeatedly by the IMF, the World Bank and the NIS actuary that it needs reform – but it has failed to take the tough decisions or take any action whatsoever.  Because of the government’s lack of action, the NIS is in crisis. This is a mess of the government’s own making.

The NDP is committed to the long-term sustainability of the fund and wants to protect those who need support, while the government has failed to take action.

We demand to see the government’s plan for NIS reform.

Our principles for reform are simple:

  • It should be a stand-alone entity with the sole aim to act in the best long-term interests of its members.
  • Investment decisions and fund management decisions should be made by an independent board.
  • Assets and other investments should only be undertaken or divested if demonstrably in the best interests of the fund.
  • Under any reforms, no person currently in the scheme should be worse off than they are at present.
  • Transparency should be at the heart of everything the NIS does.  Regular updates, in a form and manner that is easily understood should be provided regularly to all.

Recently, Camillo Gonsalves said in Parliament that the government would implement NIS and pension reforms beginning in budget year 2024. However, the Executive Director of the NIS has said reform will have to be made before 2024 in order to avoid “draconian changes”, such as an increase in contribution rates by 10 per cent.

President of the NDP, Honourable Dr Godwin Friday, said, “The threat that faces the NIS is a problem created by the lack of action of the ULP. The ULP has been in charge of the NIS; they cannot blame anyone for the current problem. The government has been sleepwalking into this crisis.  The Minister of Finance said that reforms were needed. When will the government outline its plan so that everyone can understand the long-term implications? The government must stop playing politics and put the country first. Everyone will suffer the consequences.”

Families need a tax holiday to cope with high cost of living

Children across the country are set to return to school on Monday 4th September, 2023. However, most families are now faced with the challenge of paying for new schoolbooks and equipment amid a cost-of-living crisis that is burdening our country.

We call on the government to immediately put in place a tax holiday on school items ahead of the new school term, implement a broad-based policy on transportation to ease the financial burden on parents in sending their children to school and provide adequate funding for the School Feeding Program.

In June, inflation rose to 5.3 per cent – the highest it has been in fourteen (14) years, putting greater burden on Vincentians. Despite this, the government has failed to take action on tackling the cost of living crisis.

President of the NDP, Honourable Dr Godwin Friday, said, “It is shameful that our government has done nothing to help Vincentians struggling with the high cost-of-living. Only last week, during a walkabout in East St George, a constituent was telling me his concerns about the cost of getting his children ready for the new school year.

People need support now. That is why; the NDP is proposing a 5-point action plan that would provide real and tangible support to persons. Families are worried about the cost of living ahead of the coming school year.”

During this difficult period, the NDP has a clear plan to ease the burden that families are facing by building our national economy so that it can support families and parents who struggle with the costs associated with education.

The NDP’s plan includes:

  1. Reduce VAT from 16% down to 13%
  2. Reduce the Customs Service Charge, “The Big Tax on Everything”
  3. Increase support for lower income families
  4. Reduce the impact of the fuel surcharge on VINLEC bills
  5. Immediately review the list of VAT items with a view to increasing the number of zero-rated items

The Weaponization of the Police Must Stop

The most recent incidence of this came on Thursday 23 February 2023, when police officers summarily arrested several citizens staging a peaceful protest outside Parliament in Kingstown.

Luzette King, Adriana King, John Mofford and Robert “Patches” Knights were arrested by police officers and taken to the Kingstown Police Station where they were kept overnight and charged that they failed to disperse, when instructed by a police officer, from “an unlawfully held public meeting which was held within 200 yards of the CourtHouse building when the House of Assembly was sitting”, contrary to Section 10(3)(a) of the Public Order Act.

The continued weaponization of the police by the ULP government against its political opponents is an attack on democracy and a grievous misuse of the police force. SVG continues to experience record breaking statistics on homicides and other crimes, which the Minister of National Security, Ralph Gonsalves and the Police Commissioner, Colin John seem incapable of addressing.After a record high of 42 homicides for 2022 and already a homicide count of 9 for 2023, including two policing shootings, the Vincentian public could see no substantial strategy initiatives to address the problem, except the normal rhetoric of the Prime Minister.

The NDP is calling for the ULP to stop the politicizing of the police force and allow our police officers to do their jobs of addressing the issue of crime that is negatively affecting Vincentian society and making people unsafe and afraid.

Contact: Lavern King, Public Relations Officer


Violent crime is out of hand in SVG

On Tuesday 7th February 2023, local media houses confirmed the shooting death of Keron Hadaway in the Ottley Hall area. This report comes only three days after the stabbing death of Ms. Altavea Billingy of Chester Cottage. Two (2) of the victims died as a result of police shootings.

Crime is out of hand in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In 2022, SVG recorded a record-breaking homicide count of forty two(42) for the year. We are on course to break that record this year!

Clearly we are headed in the wrong direction. But we are yet to hear of a plan to fight crime from the current regime, including the Commissioner of Police.

The Administration’s refusal to acknowledge the depth of this crisis shows that they are overwhelmed by it and lack solutions. The Minister of National Security, Dr. Gonsalves, has failed to be “tough on crime and the causes of crime” as promised.

We offer our sympathies to the families directly affected by violent crimes in SVG. We understand your pain.

Crime in SVG is a national crisis that requires a national response. Therefore, the New Democratic Party is renewing our call for the ULP administration to collaborate with us and other social partners in the development and implementation of strategies to address the crime epidemic. In his recent national address on the problem, Leader of the Opposition the Honorable Dr Godwin Friday outlined how the crime problem can be successfully tackled.

Finally, anyone with information that might assist in the police investigations should contact the police immediately.

Contact: Lavern King, Public Relations Officer

Email: ndpinsvg@gmail.com

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Godwin Friday understands the frustration of those looking for work and our talented young people who cannot find jobs here.

Our Team

Dr Friday's NDP team is committed to getting SVG working.

We will deliver new jobs, better healthcare, opportunities for young people, and reduce the cost of living.

How do I vote? *

As we approach five years since the 2015 election you will once again have the opportunity to vote. An opportunity to vote for Dr Godwin Friday and the NDP’s plans for jobs and growth or five more years of broken promises by the ULP.

How do I vote?


As we approach five years since the 2015 election you will once again have the opportunity to vote. An opportunity to vote for Dr Godwin Friday and the NDP’s plans for jobs and growth or five more years of broken promises by the ULP.

We need more young people involved in politics.

Women play vital role in shaping the future of our country.

Call us: +1 (784) 456-2114,
Email us: info@ndpsvg.com

Visit us: Murray’s Road, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Postal address: Kingstown , P.O Box 1300 , St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

© 2020, New Democratic Party, St. Vincent
Public Relations Officer Lavern King